As Indian famed batting line up was being swept away by precise English bowlers, one test after the another, excuses flew thick and fast from the Indian camp... It was said that the pitches were far too green, there was too much seam and swing on offer, players were injured, some others tired after playing the IPL... The hard earned number 1 tag was snatched away from them as the Indians capitulated to lose 4-0.
Pressure grew steadily on the team but it was the senior players, namely Sachin and VVS Laxman who were blamed the most. Sachin kept searching for the 100th 100 but it kept on evading the great man. Laxman looked a pale shadow of what he was in the early 2000's leading up to 2008-2009. Dravid was in imperious form on that tour and escaped backlash from the fans.
The series against West Indies came and went without any significant performance from these three players. India could not even win 3-0 against a young and struggling West Indian team at home in spinning conditions. Surely something was wrong. But, NO, winning 2-0 was enough for the Indian team... The signs were there for all to see... Unfortunately, the team were still blinded... By the IPL riches, by past performances, by thinking that this was just an aberration...
The tour of Australia was next. It was said that this is the best chance for the Indian team to win a series down under. People expected the experienced Indian team to steamroll the young Aussie team in transitional phase. As I type this at the end of day 4 of the last test of the Australian series, India are just 4 wickets away from a humiliating whitewash!
Sachin seemed burdened by the thought of the 100th 100 throughout the series. He seemed in good form in the first two tests but he always had an eye on the scorecard - "How far more to get that 100".
VVS Laxman still played those wristy flicks that defy gravity and laws of physics once in a blue moon, but more often than not his feet seemed stuck in cement. The hands went hard towards the ball instead of the soft touch that was associated with his batting.
Dravid, The Wall, crumbled match by match, bowlers finding ways to penetrate his defense as he kept getting bowled. He seemed baffled as the ball found newer ways to sneak in between the bat and the pad onto the timber. The death knell had been sounded.
"Have we watched the end of an era?", This is the question on every cricket fan's lips, whether he is Indian or just a cricket lover from around the globe.
This is definitely the end of an era, for me. These three may or may not play together in the Indian test team again. Well, they should not, logically. But I hope that they are given farewell matches. Let us, for a moment, remember that perfect straight drive from Tendulkar, the textbook forward defence from Rahul and the ball being flicked from way outside the off stump towards the mid wicket fence from very very special Laxman... I am getting all nostalgic, well lets leave that for some other time...